Update: Development Explosion at and Around Secret Beach
Secret Beach is the most visited spot on Ambergris Caye. And it is changing and developing at a startling rate.
Just 10 years ago, the only way to reach the west side of Ambergris Caye was boat. Just 6 years ago, after a cross-island road was filled and finished, you could drive over but the beach really was a “local secret”. There was a dock and nothing else. (Here’s a post I did in 2014 when I declared that “the jig is up” on Secret Beach – there were already TWO DOCKS! Craziest part of this post was the state of the road up north – look at us trying to help some golf cart drivers stranded in MUD at about 5 miles north)
Now…it is a strip of bars and restaurants and bed & breakfasts…chairs packed together at some points…loud music blasting in others….it’s…SHOCKING! It’s also one of the most beautiful stretches of coast in all of Belize.
Here’s a GREAT drone shot (he’s got some other great ones of town on his page) from my friend Richie of ReMax that shows you some of the progress!
I wrote a complete guide to Secret Beach in February of 2019 – the last time I visited and overnighted in this spot. But last week, as we were boating up to the camp, we passed by Secret Beach. And as always – I was surprised by how much is going on…both north and south of the photo above.
A few pictures from our boat ride – a perfect day except one thunderstorm we barely missed!
So we took a golf cart drive over to Secret Beach the very next day and I took some pictures. We introduced ourselves to some of the new business owners. Here’s what I saw…
I’m going to start at the north end – just outside of the left-hand side of the photo above. Where a new bed and breakfast is just moving toward completion. A BEAUTIFUL spot called Casa Nova Cabanas – crisp and cool and AIR CONDITIONED…I can’t wait for this spot to open. (YES! I am fishing for an invite!)
We met the owners Kevin and Nova – and they have owned the property for 6 years. Since this was literally the middle of nowhere. I could not stop gawking at their view.
You can see beautiful Cayo Rosario just off shore. Update from the grapevine: I’ve heard that Rosario has been sold to new developers. If you have any information on this, I would love to hear it. The building of over 50 over the water structures on this tiny caye MUST NOT HAPPEN. It is smack dab in the middle of a conservation zone of the Hol Chan Marine Reserve.
Anyway…let’s move south. This is not a “complete guide” just my pictures on an extremely HOT, extremely beautiful day in September. You’ll notice how quiet it is…this will NOT be the case come December.
The first bar…
I took 100 shots of the bar dog Jaeger passed out under a table curled up like a baby bunny with his old man face. So cute.
Photo from the road that runs behind the bars.
Next up is Paco’s Beach Bar.
And then Pirate’s Not So Secret Beach Bar.
There are a bunch of other vendors down here…this one looks especially appealing. Snow cones!
We got into our cart and drove as far south as we could to check out the LARGE project going on at the south end of Secret Beach. A BIG new beach club is in progress…with a pool…a pizza spot…a huge bar…fresh water showers…the proposed name is Sunset Palace Beach Club. Just a few pictures…
A few more pictures of the bars nearby. I was starting to…melt. SO HOT IN SEPTEMBER!
Blue Bayou Beach Bar…
There’s a gorgeous new house that looks finished. Secret Sunset Villa. Take a look on AirBnB!
A new bar…just a quick pic!
We headed out…to explore a new road that I’d heard was being built. From the Secret Beach area to the Mahogany Bay Beach club. We did find the entrance…but it looks ROCKY.
A last look at some business springing up on the road to and from Secret Beach – not on the water.
And then a shop – about 1/2 a mile more out onto the road. Guappo’s Pit Stop. Good name.
Are you thoroughly confused? Me too! SO MUCH GOING ON! I will need to update my Guide once the new B&B opens. And now for one quick note:
Here is what I DO not enjoy about the Secret Beach experience: Pushy hawkers…pushers…trying to get you into their beach bars and restaurants. I don’t want to be pressured like that on vacation or my day off. I wish the places would rely on…i dunno…advertising…or great food…or the best service…lowest prices…word of mouth. But competition is stiff down here, I guess? I’m not a fan of that at all. In fact, if someone is shouting at me to come to their bar, I generally skip it. Maybe that’s just me.